There's a terrorist running loose in our world, desiring to behead, burn, and bash our society. This terrorist is not Islamic, clad in black, or intent on creating a caliphate. This terrorist is called pornography. It's clad in nothing, literally, and it wants to take over your child's life.
Islamic terrorists, as well as others motivated by other evil philosophies, want to take the world back to the Dark Ages of repression and suppression. The porn industry, and its partner, 'Unrestrained Sex,' have ushered in a 'dark ages of the soul' that is carrying away people of all ages, but particularly our children.
Consider the following trends related to pornography and youth:
America is #1 in porn internet page creation (244.66 million) and Germany is #2 (10 million)—not even close.
Daily porn search engine requests - 68 million
Average age of first view of pornography in the US – 11 years
(above data from Internet Pornography Statistics, Top Ten Reviews, Jerry Ropelato, 2006)
90% of 8 to 16 year olds have viewed porn online
20% of teens have sent or posted nude or seminude videos/pictures of themselves
39% of teens post/send messages that are sexually suggestive
71% of teen girls (67% of boys) report posting/sending sexually suggestive content to a boyfriend/girlfriend
25% of teen girls say they have had nude/semi-nude images shared with them that were originally intended for someone else
(above data taken from 2009 survey conducted by cosmogirl.com and the Nat'l. Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy)
Note that these data are several years old. Both internet pornography and social media usage among teens have increased since then, as streaming speeds and smart phone usage have increased.
I want to make two disclaimers here.
1: I believe sex is a wonderful gift, and our bodies are amazing creations. When shared in a loving context of monogamous marriage, sexuality is incredibly positive and worth our full support. Hebrews 13:4 says "Marriage is to be held in honor among all, and the marriage bed is to be undefiled..."
2: Sexual impurity and the problems it brings are not new to this generation. As technology has advanced, our base human frailties have not disappeared. While humans are no worse today than in past generations, we have unique challenges in this culture where uninhibited sexual expression is seen as enlightened, and access is unprecedented.
My concern for our children is not a product of looking down my nose at this generation, or of being a prude in sexual matters. Ok, if prude means believing in sexual intercourse as sacredly reserved for marriage, then yes, I am a prude. But I will stack up the statistics related to sexual satisfaction in marriage, and the benefits to kids provided by stable marriages, and compare them to those same measures in unmarried/fractured homes. I assure you, the first set of statistics will win.
Here's the summary from a recent study from the scholarly journal Child Abuse Review:
"Exposure to pornography is routine among children and young people, with a range of notable and often troubling effects. Exposure to pornography helps to sustain young people's adherence to sexist and unhealthy notions of sex and relationships. And, especially among boys and young men who are frequent consumers of pornography, including of more violent materials, consumption intensifies attitudes supportive of sexual coercion and increases their likelihood of perpetrating assault." Flood, Michael. (2009), The harms of pornography exposure among children and young people. Child Abuse Review, Vol. 18 (6)
Did you catch that? Pornography shown to kids intensifies the attitudes that lead to 'sexual coercion.' Is it any wonder that date rape on college campuses has spawned a "No Means No" campaign among college women? We need to face the real threat to the next generation posed by pornography and sex outside of marriage. There's a terrorist loose in the world and it's not on another continent. In fact, it's a click away on any smart phone, and it's fed by an unrestrained demand for self gratification.